Friday, May 27, 2011

Read For The Heart - Whole Books For Wholehearted Families - A TOS Review

Read For The Heart
Whole Books For WholeHearted Families
Sarah Clarkson 
Apologia WholeHeart Faith-Building Tools For The Family
ISBN 978-1-932012-97-2  (2009)
384 pages, paperback

Apologia Educational Ministries

1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016 US
Phone: (888)524-4724
Fax: (765)608-3290

Did you know readers of literature are more likely to perform volunteer and charity work, visit art museums, attend performing arts events and attend sporting events?  Did you know researchers have found a link between reading and income, job success, and health as well as a person's involvement in politics, charity, and the arts?

As a member of the TOS Review Crew recently I've been reading Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson.  What a great way to end the 2010-2011 Crew Review year!  Read on to find out more of her ideas on reading and the importance of fostering a love for books.
According to Sarah Clarkson, the author of Read for the Heart, reading is in decline because it has ceased to be passed on in a personal way from generation to generation.  Sarah shares statistics and trends which suggest that we are moving toward an "alarmingly illiterate society".  In her book, Sarah encourages that deep thought must be revived as families commit to passing on the "delight and importance" of reading to the next generation.  She strongly advises us to make reading a habit through family read-aloud times.
Some of the suggestions in her book include establishing a regular reading hour every day, replacing TV at night with family read-aloud sessions, making weekly trips to the library to obtain new books, including read-aloud times as part of your child's education, making individual read-aloud dates with your children and filling baskets for each of your children with a variety of books.  To help foster this habit, and hopefully love, of reading Sarah shares book lists of the many books she has read.  She admits that other classics could have been included, but prefers to share the books she's read and enjoyed. 
The book reviews/recommendations contained in this book include author, date of original publication, award, illustrator, general age category, a short review and cautions regarding content.  Books in the lists are divided into young child (through age 8), elementary (ages 8-12), junior high (ages 12 and up), high school, and family.  There are lists of Boys' Favorites, Beloved Girls' Books and Family Read-Aloud Favorites.  Audiobooks are also said to be a good option.  To find these books Sarah suggests library sales, used book stores, thrift shops, online booksellers and eBay. 
Chapters Include:

  • Reading to Live
  • Reading Lost: The State of Literacy in America
  • Life by Books:  How to Begin
  • A Roadmap for Using This Book

  • Picture Books (including some favorites like the Billy and Blaze series, the Brambly Hedge Seasons series, the Madeline series, the Paddington series, and books by Jan Brett, Margaret Wise Brown, Barbara Cooney, Marguerite de Angeli, Tommie dePaola, Margaret Early, James Herriot, Russell Hoban, Steven Kellogg, Robert McCloskey, Patricia Polacco, Tasha Tudor, Jane Yolen and many others)

  • The Golden Age Classics (including Winnie-the-Pooh, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Heidi, Treasure Island, Little Women, The Water-Babies, Kidnapped, The Jungle Book, Anne of Green  Gables and quite a few more) 

  • Children's Fiction (including Mr. Popper's Penguins, Tuck Everlasting, Caddie Woodlawn, the A Little Maid series, The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The Tale of Despereaux, My Side of the Mountain, books by Elizabeth Goudge, Margeurite Henry, Brian Jacques, Patricia MacLachlan, Ralph Moody, Arthur Ransome, Patricia St. John, Andrew Svenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder and many other favorites)

  • Fairy Tales and Fantasy (including Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, The Pilgrim's Progress, the Fairy Book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and many more)

  • History and Biography (including Adam and His Kin, Archimedes and the Door of Science, The Children's Homer, The Bronze Bow, The Door in the Wall, The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Joan of Arc, Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims, Indian Captive and books by Elizabeth Geoge Speare, Kate Waters, N.C. Wyeth, Elizabeth Yates, Ralph Moody, Brinton Turkle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carl Sandburg, Hilda van Stockum and quite a few others) (also including historical children's series such as those by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Genevieve Foster, Jean Fritz, Cheryl Harness and G.A. Henty) 

  • Spiritual Reading for Children (including Kay Arthur's Inductive Bible Studies for Kids, A Child's Book of Character Building, How the Bible Came to Us, Beautiful Girlhood, the Trailblazer Series, Hero Tales, Lamplight Publishing's Rare Collector Series, and the Youth With a Mission Christian Heroes: Then and Now series in addition to a few others)

  • Poetry (including A Child's Treasury of Poems, Something Big Has Been Here, Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, Sterling Publishing's Poetry for Young People series and several others)

  • Music, Art, and Nature (including Anna Harwell Celenza's Composer series, Susan Hammond's Classical Kids audio series, Ann Rachlin's Famous Children series, Linnea in Monet's Garden, Gladys Blizzard's Come Look With Me series, Colleen Carroll's How Artists See series, Apologia's Young Explorer Series, Peterson's Field Guides and First Guides, The Magic School Bus series and plenty more)

  • Epilogue

  • Six appendices including
     Appendix 1:  Caldecott Medalists
     Appendix 2:  Newbery Medalists
     Appendix 3:  Historical Fiction by G. A. Henty
     Appendix 4:  Landmark History Books
     Appendix 5:  The Trailblazer Series
     Appendix 6:  A Few of My Favorite Things

  • Endnotes
  • Index of Authors and Illustrators
  • Index of Titles

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  The author has a real passion for books and reading.  Sarah's ideas and suggestions are quite encouraging.  She reminded me of favorite books from my childhood and gave me ideas of more favorites to introduce to my children.  Although we have not done nearly as much read-aloud time as I would like, this book reinforced all the reasons for spending more time reading to my children, and myself.  Now we have new lists of great books to find and read besides the thousands we own.  This book contains no "fluff", just great ideas and useful information.  The layout is engaging and easy-to-read.  Sarah's heart for books and her Christian beliefs and worldview make this book a real treasure with many lists of good-quality, wholesome, entertaining and educational books for the whole family.  In my opinion, this is definitely a good read and worthy of a place on every parents bookshelf.  On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd have to give this a 14. 
To see what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew had to say about this book click here 

To view the Apologia catalog online or request a catalog click here

To see a sample chapter click here

To see other products available from Apologia click here

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew I received a free copy of Read for the Heart from Apologia in order to read it and give my thoughts/opinions in this review.  I did not receive any further compensation.  Thoughts and opinions stated are my own.  I am  not obligated to provide a positive review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eagles Wings - Considering God's Creation - Science - TOS Review

P.O. Box 502
Duncan, OK 73534
Considering God's Creation $29.95
Additional Workbook $13.95
Replacement audio CD $ 3.00
We've been checking out a great science program from Eagle's Wings Educational Materials, Considering God's Creation - A Creative Biblical Approach to Natural Science. 

This natural science program is an elementary earth and life science program adaptable for 2nd to 7th Grade.  The program includes a 272-page book plus a Teacher's Manual with a free audio CD.  All pages of both books are black and white.  Photocopying of workbook pages for your immediate family is permitted.  In addition to learning a lot about science, this program teaches your child to discern evolution and creation in things they read, watch and hear.

The Teacher's Manual includes:

Table of Contents

Lesson Plans:  The 36 lessons are intended to be used once a week for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  The materials presented and the accompanying activities are easily adaptable to teach multiple ages of children at the same time.  This program can be used as a stand alone curriculum or in addition to any other science program.  You can even stretch out the program to cover 2 to 3 years or repeat the book again for review when your child is older and complete the "Digging Deeper" activities.  Review questions, crossword puzzles and notebooking are used to ensure mastery of the lessons.  Your child will practice handwriting, learn vocabulary, write compositions, learn Bible verses, learn poems and songs, do art-type activities and learn a bit of history all while having fun learning science.  Additionally, the completed notebook will be a great reference for your child to review and wonderful documentation for what your child has learned during the year.  And, even better, your child will learn all of these things from the perspective of a Christian worldview.

Creation (Lesson 1)

The Universe:  Stars, Sun and Planets (Lessons 2-4)
  • My Place in the Universe
  • Our Solar System
  • Getting to Know the Planets
The Earth (Lesson 5)
  • Our Planet Earth
  • Light
  • The Earth
  • The Atmosphere
Non-Living Things:  Rocks and Minerals (Lesson 6)
  • Rocks
  • Igneous Rock
  • Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rock
  • Becoming a Rock Detective
Weather (Lessons 7-9)
  • Sun and Weather
  • Air and Weather
  • Water and Weather
  • Rotation and Weather
  • Land and Weather
  • Clouds
  • The Speed of Light, Sound and Wind
The Plant Kingdom (Lessons 10-12)
  • Plants
  • Photosynthetic Plants
  • Fungus Plants
  • Trees
  • Plant Ecology
The Animal Kingdom (Lessons 13-21)
  • Insects
  • Spiders
  • Introduction
  • Fish
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Zoo Adventure
  • Amphibians
Animal Anatomy and Physiology (Lessons 22-26)
  • Animal Structure
  • Animal Food Chain
  • Animal Reproduction/Genetics
  • Animal Instinct, Vision and Brains
  • Animal Ecology
  • Extinction
  • Whales
Man:  Made in God's Image (Lessons 27-36)
  • Man - Reproductive system
  • The Cell
  • Man--Skeletal System
  • Man--Digestive System
  • Man--Circulatory System
  • Man--Respiratory System
  • Man--Nervous System
  • Man--Integumentary System
  • Man--Endocrine System and Excretory System
  • Man--Muscular System
  • Scientists
  • Reviews
  • Additional Resource Suggestions
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Answers to Word Searches
  • Answers to Crossword Reviews
The lesson plans in the Teacher's Manual are easy to follow and very comprehensive. Another great part of the program is that materials needed to teach the lessons and do the activities are minimal and inexpensive. 

Peek at the plan in the Teacher's Manual for Lesson 1:
Preparation: Items needed.
Vocabulary: Definitions of terms "consider" and "creation".
Introduction: General overview of the study of God's creation.
Song/Poem: And God Was Pleased!
      On the first day of creation,
      God made the dark and light,
      And He called it day and night.
      And God was pleased.
(The poem then continues through each of the days of creation.)
Bible Reading: Scriptures for your student to look up.
Notebook: This section is for doing some special projects throughout the program (pop-up pages, little booklets, "Detective" pages)
Evolution Stumpers: Scientific facts that support creation and question evolution.
Review: Review questions and answers.
Digging Deeper: Suggestions for further activities, research and related materials.(such as write a newspaper article to evidence for creation, write a book report on a book about creation, visit the Creation Evidence Museum, etc.)

Our thoughts: 
My 14 year old daughter really liked the setup and activities of this program.  Not often do I hear her say curriculum is "really cool".  She really liked the topics covered, the variety and the activities.  According to her "this is fun!"  The notebooking is new to us, but she actually wanted to do it even though she's not fond of writing.

I really liked the Teacher's Manual too.  Except to review before sitting with her to do a lesson, there really was very little preparation required of me.  This was a great time-saver.  I only worked with one child, but I can see how this would be a great program for someone with multiple ages to teach.  The material covers soooo much.  This will probably be one we use again for review.  If I had several children using the program at the same time I would probably get each child a workbook so that I wouldn't have to do so much copying.  I do, however,  like that it is permissible to copy the materials for your immediate family.  The songs on the CD are catchy and helpful, even if they are a little simple.  All in all this is a really creative and biblical way to teach science to elementary and even older students.  The price of this program is incredibly cheap for what you get.  This is definitely a good one to check out.

Click here to listen to CD excerpts
Click here to see Student and Teacher's Manual Sample Pages 

Click here to order Considering God's Creation from Eagle's Wings

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free copy of these materials (Workbook, Teacher's Manual and CD) to use in order to provide a review of the materials. I received no further compensation. I was not obligated to provide a positive review.

Click here for more TOS Review Crew reviews.


Click here  to see other products from Eagle's Wings (Remembering God's Awesome Acts, Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals, Alphabet Island Phonics 1 and 2, Remembering God's Chosen Children, Kinder-Math and others) 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Talking Fingers - A TOS Review

Talking Fingers, Inc.
Wordy Qwerty

830 Rincon Way
San Rafael, California 94903
Phone: (415) 472-3103
Toll Free: 1-800-674-9126

We've been checking out an interesting spelling program from Talking Fingers, Inc. called Wordy Qwerty.  Read on to find out more.
This program is a sequel to the Read, Write & Type Learning System from Talking Fingers.  Some of the TOS Review Crew used the first program and reviewed it earlier.  We did not use the first program, but we found that it was not necessarily needed for our child.  The spelling program can be used as a stand alone product.  This program is aimed at 7-10 year olds (2nd or 3rd grade) who know basic phonics and word identification are working on more complex reading and writing skills.

The 20 Lessons in Wordy Qwerty (Spelling Rules) include:
  1. Silent E
  2. Sounds of C
  3. Sounds of G
  4. J or DGE
  5. W or WH
  6. C or K
  7. CK or K
  8. CKS or X
  9. CH or TCH
  10. LL, SS, FF, ZZ
  11. OI or OY
  12. VE Words
  13. Open Syllables
  14. Double Consonants
  15. Doubling rule
  16. ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  17. I Before E
  18. Plurals: Add ES
  19. Plurals: Y to IES
  20. Plurals: F to VES
Midi the musician and Qwerty the word coach, have children help them accumulate the "spheres" needed to play Midi's music machine. Children do this by passing each of six activities in each of twenty lessons.
There 20 consecutive lessons contain a variety of fun games and songs which help your children learn spelling rules and get a good start in spelling.

As seen on the Talking Fingers website the six fluency activities/games in each lesson include:

1.    Patterns - Here children make two lists of words by typing the names of pictures and sorting them. Your child is directed to "notice the patterns," or spelling rules, by comparing the two lists.  When words  can't be sounded out or spelled correctly the Helping Hands will assist them. Qwerty and Midi talk about the differences between the two lists and weave the 20 spelling rules into the lyrics of catchy songs.

 2.     Karaoke  Catchy songs about each of the 20 spelling rules are shown to your child.  Children read the lyrics on the screen and can sing along. These lyrics have examples of words that use the spelling rule.
3.     Recycler  In this game, children learn different vowel combinations which make long vowel sounds. Children watch the RECYCLER as it changes the first letter(s) of two rhyming words. They try to quickly distinguish real words from non-words, and non-words are vacuumed away. Players scoring less than 90% on the first try are asked to study the list of real words.  They can click on the word and hear it used in a sentence then play the game again.

 4.     Pop-a-Word  This game develops quick recognition of words.  This is an arcade-type game in which your child finds words that are part of a 4 word phrase as they appears briefly, along with other words, in a cluster of colorful balloons. When children click on the right balloons, they "pop", and the faster they recognize those words, the more points they make.

  5.     Write Stories  Here your child hears and sees the first line of illustrated 8-line rhymes.  The child then has to type out the second line after it is dictated. They can see and hear it as often as they need, but more points are given if they remember the sentence and try to spell the words. The stories contain words that require using the spelling rule just presented.

  6.     Read Stories  Here your child reads some short stories that develop comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.  Every so often, there is a word missing.  Your child has to choose among three possible words, the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence. These stories also include words that utilize the spelling rule, or the "outlaw" words (words that don't follow the rules) learned in that lesson.

Talking Fingers has also created the Wordy Qwerty Assessment module you'll see on the Wordy Qwerty CD.  With the Wordy Qwerty Assessment module you can check how well your child has learned the spelling.  You can have children take a pre-test, a post-test or a lesson test.  Student Data Reports can also be saved which include all of a child's data gathered to date.

The Home Edition of Wordy Qwerty is $35 and the Single School Edition (with two sets of CDs) is $55.
For options and further pricing visit the Talking Fingers website here

To use the Home Edition you'll need to have the following system requirements:

Macintosh Hardware Requirements:
Mac: OS9 with CarbonLib or OSX

Windows Hardware Requirements:
Windows: 98, SE, 2000, XP

**Also requires QuickTime 6 (included) or greater

What We Thought:
Although my daughter is older than the suggested age for this software she did have fun with these games.  Since spelling isn't really her strength, she got a good reminder of the spelling rules while playing around.  The suggested age range is appropriate for the skills learned, but older children could use this for review.  Being a little older, my daughter found the songs a little corny but helpful for memorizing the rules.  This would probably be fun for a child who needs reinforcement of the spelling rules.  The program is easy for children to use independently.  The price is reasonable if your child is at this stage of development. 
As her teacher I liked the way the software teaches and develops self-confidence with reading and spelling.  this one is fun.

This was an easy download, but we did find that whether on dial-up internet or high-speed internet the games load fairly slowly.  That was the only thing we weren't happy with.  I would guess that a child with a short attention span might have a hard time waiting for the games to move along.  Having tried the games from several places and computers, this can take a long time to start up.  While loading it seemed to "lock up" for a significant amount of time and then be accessible.  Not being a techie, I'm not sure why exactly this happened, and this may not be a problem for all users. 

Talking Fingers also offers other products including: Read, Write & Type Learning System, K-4 Reading Bundle and JingleSpells.  You can find Talking Fingers/Word Qwerty on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  

Click here to view an online demo

Or you can ask for a demo CD by e-mailing .

Click here to let your child try Lesson One (Silent E) in Wordy Qwerty

Click here to order Wordy Qwerty

To see more TOS Crew reviews click here 

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free trial download of Wordy Qwerty to use to provide a review and my opinions on this blog.  I received no further compensation.  Observations and comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Be a Top Dog, Drill With Mad Dog Math - A TOS Review

Mad Dog Math
4562 Ocana Avenue
Lakewood, CA 90713
Phone (562) 533-5772

Age Range -  K-5th Grade


As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free trial download of the Mad Dog Math software to use with my children for several weeks in order to provide an honest review of the program.  Observations, suggestions and comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.  Keep reading for more information about this supplemental math drill software.

Mad Dog Math is intended to be a supplement to any math curriculum, whether classroom or at home.  The program is available in printed form and CD-ROM for Windows PC.  (This one is not for Macintosh.)  (Mad Dog Math Online is coming soon according to their website.) 

Can your children recite basic math facts from memory, without hesitation?  This math drill program allows children to master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with quick daily drills.  All that is needed to get started is a one-time purchase of a binder or CD-ROM - both are exactly the same.  The program is designed to build a child's confidence with "bite-size" pieces of the basic math facts mastered in short 7-10 minute daily practice sessions.  Competition against self, through decreasing time allowed for drill completion, builds speed and self-confidence for your children.

I think we all know that memorization of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts is important to make more advanced math much easier and quicker to learn.   However, we don't always push our children to remember these facts for quick and easy reference.  Julie Kotoff, the creator of Mad Dog Math, has been an educator for 30 years and now works as an educational consultant.  She created Mad Dog Math as a fun and challenging way to help students commit these facts to memory.  Her Mad Dog Math program is named after her beloved Ruff, a Golden Retriever, whom she lost in 2004.  Although he was not a “mad dog”, he lives on through the Mad Dog Math program.

Mad Dog Math breaks the basic facts down into bite-sized pieces (fact families).  Your child advances through timed worksheets, at his own pace.  When he passes, he moves on to the next sheet, building his confidence and speed along the way.  There are three levels and a challenge level to work through.  While the first two levels have worksheets with 20 problems, the third and challenge levels contain 24 problems per worksheet.  When using the timed mode, you set the timer to begin at two minute completion, then progressing to one minute completion and finally to 30 second completion.  As these levels are accomplished your child earns Club stickers.  After completion of a level your child is a "Math Top Dog" and moves on to the next level.

Mad Dog Math is available in binder-form (for paper and pencil) or CD-ROM.  In the program you'll find a program overview, suggestions for a daily routine and ideas for when your child gets "stuck".  You'll also find a Progress Chart where your child keeps track of his own progress. 

There are also Mad Dog Math aids available -- self-correcting flashcards and a Mad Dog Math timer.  There are even Certificates that can be presented to your child on completion.

The best part, Mad Dog Math practice takes as little as 5-10 minutes a day so there is always time to fit it into your day.  (Of course, if you have a child that thrives on drills, keep on going!)

This is a good, no-frills way to get the basics memorized.  My daughter, age 14, helped me by using the program on and off over the past few weeks.  She was not motivated by the Club stickers.  She also does not do as well when she knows she's being timed - so much for self competition.  (If you prefer, a No Limit option allows for no timer, but your child may still track their progress.)  She did say that the program wasn't that bad.  She also thought that younger kids would enjoy the program more.  From the mom/teacher perspective, her speed did improve as she progressed - hurray! 

I think the suggested age range is about right.  The drills are definitely helpful in memorizing the math facts from 0-18. 

The software was easy to download.  Depending on the age of your child, children can move through this fairly independently.

I wish this had a monthly pricing option, but the 1 year license isn't terribly expensive.  I am also glad I'm a PC so that software was an option.  I would really like to check out Mad Dog Math Online when that is available.

Currently this is only available for Windows PC. Although we used a software download, the binder is said to be exactly the same material -- allowing Mac users to still use the materials. There is not a limit of how many children can use the software.  The daily practice is short and easily fits into most schedules.

There is not a separate parent page to check your child's progress. You must log in under your child's name to check the worksheet progress chart.

This is quite easy to use, and children can learn at their own pace.  For some children the club stickers and certificates could be a great incentive.  For children who stress while being timed, drills may be done without the timer.

The suggested age range is K-5th grade, but the program can also strengthen the skills of older children who have not previously committed the basic math facts to memory--a chance to catch up and speed up before moving on to fractions, decimals, algebra and other higher math.

***Definitely a thumbs-up here, but not so much for the 14 year old.   

One Year License  $19.99
Two Year License  $29.99
Perpetual License   $39.99

*For classroom and school district license fees visit the Mad Dog Math website.

Click for      

Click  for options and to order


Friday, May 13, 2011

Lucky you!

  Well, in the category of humor, since Blogger was down for a while I received messages via other routes from interested parties. 

After my darling daughter randomly picked I am happy to announce that Catherine will be receiving the book even though she was not able to post comments here.  Thanks and blessings to all who entered.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fun Giveaway for Moms - Humor for a Mom's Heart book

Humor For a Mom's Heart
Compiled by Shari McDonald
Howard Publishing Co, Inc.
ISBN 1-58229-266-3

Stories, Quips and Quotes to Lift the Heart  from Patsy Clairmont, Martha Bolton, Dave Meurer, Nancy Kennedy, Angela Elwell Hunt, Charlene Ann Baumbich, and many more

This is a good one !!!

This giveaway is for all you moms out there that need encouragement and a good laugh.

(Here's what it looks like on Amazon)

Some great thoughts from some very popular and funny people --  just a few you'll find in this 245 pages of fun:
  • I Am Mommy, Hear Me Roar  - Nancy Kennedy
  • The Husband's Progress - Chris Fabry
  • If Mr. Clean Calls, Tell Him I'm Not In! - Martha Bolton
  • Our Father Who Art in Heaven--Hurried Is My Name - Nancy Chapman Monroe
  • Summer Commandments - Joey Earl Horstman
  • Top 5 Ways to Spot a Mother on a Date - Becky Freeman
  • You Rile the Kids Up, You Put 'Em to Bed! - Joey O'Connor
  • A Smashing Success in the Kitchen - Karen Scalf Linamen
  • The Roosters in Our Family Tree - Gracie Malone
  • A Mother's Guide to Cool - Kathy Peel
  • Laugh and Lollygag - Lindsey O'Connor
  • Invisible Friends - Denise Roy
  • Mrs. Perfection Meets Ms. Im--: The Proverbs 31 Woman - Patsy Clairmont

             How to Enter

  1. Tell me in a comment your favorite funny and/or encouraging author or speaker
  2. For another entry leave a comment about something you've seen on my blog
  3. For 3 entries post about this giveaway on Facebook and comment              
  4. For 5 entries mention this on your own blog and leave me a comment/link

Drawing will be Friday, May 13th - Good Luck!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Have you heard? 19 Free Gifts at The Old Schoolhouse

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is running their popular semi-annual 19 Gifts promotion, the 2011 Homeschool Gifts Bouquet. There were 5,000 packages available but they are almost sold out! They'll probably be all gone by early May.

If you haven't already subscribed, you really should consider getting this amazing homeschooling publication in your hands... or in the hands of a homeschooling friend!

If you get in on this Gifts Bouquet (by ordering a 2 year subscription) you will have several educational GIFTS rolling in over the next few weeks!  So what kind of companies are on board this year?  Check out this list:
  • Friends & Heroes 
  • Library and Educational Services 
  • Joy Berry Books 
  • Video Text Interactive Math 
  • A Journey Through Learning 
  • Beautiful Feet Books 
  • Graphics Toolbox 
  • Healthy Life Press 
  • Art of Logic 
  • Homeschool Programming 
  • In the Hands of a Child 
  • Make It Real Learning Company 
  • Math Mammoth 
  • Shurley English 
  • Supercharged Science 
  • World Wide Center for Math 
  • Brooks Educational Aids 
  • SpeeKee TV 
  • Egghead Academics 
  • The Old Schoolhouse Bonus Gifts => John Taylor Gatto E-Book & MP3!


BEYOND the 19 free gifts, you'll also receive the monthly Teacher's Toolbox email and access to the SUBSCRIBER ONLY website. (This is the BRAND NEW password-protected site which is LOADED with resources for TOS subscribers ONLY.)

As a subscriber to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine you'll flip through approximately 200 glossy, color pages of vibrant and encouraging inspiration every quarter.  You'll need to hurry to get in on this great deal though, because the spring promotion is almost SOLD OUT!  
Click the Bouquet picture below for more information

(No, I am not paid to promote this.  I'm doing it because I subscribed this way--and it was a great deal!  This is a really great magazine with lots of information and encouragement for homeschooling families and anyone considering homeschooling.  Blessings to you -- hope you get a chance to enjoy this!)

Congratulations! You are a Winner!

Congratulations to April, the winner of the Homeschooling Cartoons book by Todd Wilson.  Thanks to all who entered and blessings to all.

Kregel Publications - Circle C Beginnings - Andi's Fair Surprise - TOS Review


Circle C Beginnings 
Andi's Fair Surprise
ISBN 978-0-8254-4184-4
Susan K. Marlow - 2011
Christian Fiction - Chapter Book - Ages 6-8

Kregel Publications
a division of Kregel, Inc.
P.O. Box 2607
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

Recently I received a copy of Andi's Fair Surprise, by Susan K. Marlow.  We really liked the book and are thinking about getting more books from the Circle C Beginnings series.  I remember growing up with a variety of horse books around.  They were all good, but a lot of the stories were about boys and their horses.  I remember wishing I could find a series of stories about a nice little girl and her horse.  If you have a darling daughter, niece, or granddaughter that loves horses, you'll want to check these out.  Let me share a bit about the book we read and the series. 

Andi's Fair Surprise is a delightful story about a 6 year old girl named Andi Carter and her trip to the 1874 California State Fair.  Andi is growing up in the Wild West of the late 1800s.  Andi wants to take her foal, Taffy, to the fair to compete for a blue ribbon like her brothers.  Unfortunately she and her foal are too young to compete so Andi tries to find something else to make the trip worthwhile.  Andi has to get dressed up and ride a train, for hours and hours, and she doesn't want to "bounce and slide around all day"--she's so sure this is a long and pointless trip.  A fancy hotel room,  great food, spending money and a special entry ticket help Andi realize that the fair trip might not be too bad after all.  Andi even ends up winning a prize--one that she's told she absolutely cannot take home.  Life's not fair.  What to do?  By the end of the trip Andi grows up a bit and learns a few things.  Andi gets to be a blessing to another little girl, and she receives a prize she wanted badly.  Best of all, Andi finds out how much her family loves her. 

This is a great story about growing up and learning about the unfairness of life.  Andi finds out how to make an unfair situation a blessing to someone else.  The story is filled with fun illustrations of Andi and her journey.  The story is 10 chapters long and easy to read.  At the beginning of the book is a "New Words" vocabulary section.  At the end of the book is a "Peek Into The Past" which describes state fairs during the time period of the story.

Other books in the series include:

  • Andi's Pony Trouble 
  • Andi's Indian Summer 
  • Andi's Scary School Days 
  • Andi's Lonely Little Foal 
  • Andi's Circle C Christmas

To order these cute easy-reader chapter books click here .  The books are a very reasonable $4.99 plus $2 shipping and handling if purchased individually.  Books 1&2 or 3&4 can be purchased for $9.98 plus $2 shipping and handling.  Or, for the best deal, order books 1-4 for $15.96 and $3 shipping and handling.

Free, age-appropriate learning activities to go with the books can be found here

You can also find cute free coloring pages of the illustrations in the books by clicking the logo below

Find more info on Facebook here
Sign up for the Circle C Beginnings Ezine here

Andi's adventures continue in the Circle C Adventures series which includes:
  • Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home 
  • Andrea Carter and the Dangerous Decision 
  • Andrea Carter and the Family Secret 
  • Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers 
  • Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure 
  • Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth
For more information about Andrea Carter - Circle Adventures series - Ages 9-14
click the pictures below.  

We received one Circle C Beginnings book to read and review.  We really enjoyed Andi's Fair Surprise.  My daughter thought the age range was appropriate, and the vocabulary used was easily read and understood.  She liked the "New Words" section at the beginning of the book--"because then you know the words when you see them in the story".  The story was fun, and the website activities, coloring pictures, and other information were fun to check out also.  She now wants to read the rest of the Beginnings series and move on to the older Andrea series.  We really liked the illustrations in the stories too--such a cute little girl! 

As the mom of a horse loving daughter I'm really excited to see this series geared to girls.  We have not read the next series but look forward to finding them in the future.   I also felt that the layout, illustrations and vocabulary were quite suited to readers of beginning chapter books of the suggested ages.  This was a fun book to read and review.  I hope you get a chance to check out some of the links I've provided to see samples from the books as well as the related activities.  Great author, great pictures, a new favorite series!

Other Review Crew members also received other books from the series.  To see more Crew reviews on these books click here.

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received Andi's Fair Surprise free from the vendor in return for an honest review of the book.  I received no further compensation.  Opinions and observations are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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